Luís Silva


'Communication + accountability = <3'

Luís Silva

My Backstory

Where were you born?

I grew up in Essen, the industrial heart of Germany, where people are known for being hard workers, straight shooters, down to earth, and easy to grab a beer with. My parents taught me the value of dreaming big and working hard. My mother founded a successful biomedical startup in the 1990s, growing it for 15 years before selling to a large firm. She taught me about perseverance, breaking through barriers, and doing simple things better than overconfident incumbents. My father started as a car mechanic before founding his own dealership in the 1970s. He saw success come and go with industry changes, but his amazing relationship skills allowed him to relate to anyone.

Starting at age 8, my parents had me help out on a small farm, which helped me appreciate physical labor. In my teens, I worked admin roles at my mom's startup, learning efficiency and attention to detail. At 16, I took a monotonous job besides high school at a bank’s account statement printing department that taught me patience - which is valuable as an early-stage investor. I studied energy management and finance, doing my undergrad in Germany before a Master's at Purdue and Tsinghua.

After university, I started in corporate finance and M&A, focusing on renewable energy deals. I then joined a large utility amid industry transformation during and after Fukushima. My role changed to business development in batteries, grid storage, and distributed energy. I also supported early tech investments at the intersection of energy and power retail tech. Later, I helped a global engineering firm leverage its vast hardware expertise to partner with early-stage hard tech founders - right before embarking on my own journey as a founder (unsuccessfully).

Where were you born, where were you raised?

I was born and bred in Coimbra, Portugal.

What is the area you are from famous for?

Probably the University. The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest in Europe, being founded in 1290. Coimbra is also known for its traditional fado music and vibrant student population.

What are the two things (outside of school) that you spent the most time on when you were a kid or teenager?

Football and video games. Outside school, I spent most of my childhood either playing or watching football! Every school break was spent in the school’s football pitch :)Gaming-wise, I started off by playing the Ratchet & Clank and Sly series on the PS2. I then discovered a great joy for multiplayer games and started playing FIFA (more football) and Call of Duty (in specific BO2). During this time, I also played Yu-Gi-Oh!, the card game. I then moved on to League of Legends, which is probably the game I dived into the most.

What did you study, and where?

My Bachelor’s was in Software Engineering at the University of Coimbra.

For my Master’s, I moved to Lisbon and studied Computer Science and Engineering, specialising in Engineering and Data Science, this time in Instituto Superior Técnico.

During my Masters, I was also lucky enough to partake in the Erasmus program and spent a semester abroad at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Summarize your work before Foundamental.

While studying, I did two summer internships, worked for multiple years at a junior enterprise, and had a role at a VC-backed FinTech startup (Teya, backed by Accel and Hedosophia), all in software engineering roles.

I Am On The Lookout For

What can you nerd out over for hours with the right discussion partner?

Running, fantasy football and tech.

Selected Partnerships